Nanotechnology and Edible Films for Food Packaging Applications
Nanotechnology has been exploited in the last decade as an innovative approach that allows obtaining nanoscaled organic and inorganic compounds featuring unique properties due to their size. When nanomaterials are incorporated in polymers intended to act as film-forming matrices for food packaging, they are known to improve their physical-mechanical performances by acting as fillers. Other properties (e.g., biological activity against foodborne pathogens and/or spoilage microorganisms) may also be developed and used as key features in biopolymer-based materials for food preservation. Concerning food-grade biopolymers, edible films may be produced and denote alternative packaging materials that are promising due to the possibility of taking advantage of film-forming polysaccharides and polypeptides that would be wasted to produce edible packaging featuring biodegradability and nutritional and sensory values. These edible materials may also have boosted active roles (antimicrobial and antioxidant, in particular) when specific nanoscaled additives are used. Therefore, this chapter reviews the most recent advances on the development of edible films incorporated with nanoparticles or nanoencapsulated compounds to be used as packaging materials for food preservation purposes. Moreover, physical-mechanical characterization techniques (such as mechanical resistance, barrier properties, and microstructure) and antimicrobial properties are addressed. Finally, future trends are discussed considering potential effects on consumers. This contribution presents the state of the art on edible nanocomposite films for food packaging applications.
KeywordsActive packaging Nanocomposite Antimicrobial activity Antioxidant activity Nanoemulsion Nanocapsule Nanocellulose Nanoclay Nanostarch Nanochitosan Peptide
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